Old Couple Listening to Radio by Norman Rockwell
May 20, 1922 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Old Couple Listening to Radio, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published May 20, 1922.
An alternate title for this painting is Wonders of Radio and Radio Phone.
This painting was Rockwell's forty-eighth overall picture out of 322 total featured on the cover of The Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
It was also the fifth Rockwell cover in 1922. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover ten times in 1922.
The location of the original painting is not known.
This illustration has been reproduced in two Rockwell commentary books, as illustration 149 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 90 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
Like all of the early Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations, this ome is difficult to find in prsitine condition. Examples in less than excellent grades regular sell for more than one hundred dollars at auction. Higher grades cost even more.
Old Couple Listening to Radio
In this painting, Norman Rockwell conveys two messages.
The first is how much people enjoy being entertained.
The second is the love of a woman for her husband.
The old man in this illustration is listening intently to a program on the radio. We can safely assume that he is listening to the opera. At least that is what the newspaper in his lap says.
He is using a new technology to enjoy the opera in the comfort of his own home. The label says "RADIO PHONE" with a stylized lightning bolt between the two words.
The look on his face expresses pure joy at the beauty of the sound and wonderment at the miracle of the technology. He may be a rural opera fan who has always longed to see and hear the opera and is now getting the chance to feel he is there.
And then there is his wife.
Old Couple Listening to Radio was only one of 322 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers; Here is the list of Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
She is leaning behind him, her hands on his shoulders, enjoying his enjoyment.
She is also straining to hear the show. She allows her husband to indulge himself, even though she would love to don the headphones herself.
Some things really are timeless. Just like Rockwell's art.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1922 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company
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Do you have a personal story about this painting? Do you know the model personally? Do you have a different take on the commentary?
Norman Rockwell Quotes:
I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.
No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!
Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.
Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.
The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.
You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.
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